I packed a lunch and went over to Kickapoo today. Since it was cloudy and looked rainy, I didn't take a camera. (What happened to the perfect weekend they forecast on Friday?) I went up to the overlook, ate lunch, and read a couple of chapters in my book. Then I went up the bike trail that comes out to the road about there. (I'm not entirely sure I'm supposed to hike on the bike trails. But none of the few bikers I met complained to me. I was careful to yield them the path.) It's more obviously old strip mine land than the area south of the park -- obvious in the sense that the land forms aren't natural for this part of the country. It was mined long enough ago that the forest looks quite natural, and it has a lot fewer people wandering through it than the main part of the park. It was gorgeous. Maybe it's the novelty, but it seemed more beautiful than the other wooded areas.
One group of bikers insisted on waiting for me at the top of a hill. They said "we'll wait for you -- unless you're a Democrat, then we'll run you down!" I didn't mention how I plan to vote in November, but we spent a couple of minutes bitching about the twit now serving as Governor. For anyone reading this who doesn't follow Illinois politics, I should explain that Governor Blagojevich (a Democrat) has announced that Kickapoo, along with a number of other state parks and historic sites, will be closed in November. I can only hope that once Blago starts serving his prison sentence, there will still be something left of Illinois.
I think I ended up walking about 9 miles. I'd like to have a GPS unit optimized for walking, but I wouldn't like one as much as they cost. I should at least get a functional pedometer to help figure out how much distance I've covered. The last mile or so I added by exploring the bike trail that starts near the parking area at the start of the Out and Back hiking trail, because I still felt like more walking. By the time I got back to the car, though, I was glad to see it. I feel like I'm in much better condition than I was a few weeks ago.